Zoria serves “liturgy” in Kovpyta temple the court ruled to return to UOC

"Hierarch" of the OCU Eustraty Zoria in the church of Kovpyta village which the court ordered to return to the UOC community. Photo: Facebook / Eustraty Zoria

On May 20, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, consisting of a panel of judges of the Cassation Court, recognized the final decision to return the UOC temple to its community.

On July 5, 2020, the head of the Chernihiv Eparchy of the OCU, Eustraty Zoria, served a “liturgy” in the unlawfully seized temple of the UOC in honor of the Protection of the Mother of God of Kovpyta village, Chernihiv Region, which was reported by the “hierarch” on his Facebook page.

The “services” of the “hierarch” of the OCU in the temple, which the court ordered to return to the UOC community, are considered by the Church as a complete disrespect for the judicial and state bodies of Ukraine.

“In fact, this is a defiant non-fulfillment of the court’s decision,” Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, Head of the UOC Legal Department, said in a commentary to the UOJ. “When the OCU members find it suitable, they rant about their patriotism, but in effect, they act in the very opposite way and actually spit on the laws of the state.”

Recall that the parish of the UOC Holy Protection temple has three court orders that confirm their right to the temple which was illegally seized in 2019. Having lost the court twice, the schismatics filed a cassation appeal, but the Cassation Economic Court as part of the Supreme Court did not satisfy it either, thus recognizing the final decision to return the Holy Protection temple to the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Nobody has returned the temple to its rightful owners, and worshipers of the canonical Church continue to gather for prayer in a small house, where they have celebrated two Easters now. At the same time, a fake announcement recently appeared in the local media that the Holy Protection church of the UOC of Kovpyta village had allegedly lost its registration certificate, which the Chernihiv and Novgorod-Seversky Eparchies of the UOC viewed as an attempt to illegally re-register the community and therefore turned to the competent authorities in this regard.

As reported by the UOJ, on January 25, 2019, the religious community of the Holy Protection temple of Kovpyta village unanimously supported the UOC and its Primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine. The next day, with the assistance of the deputy chairman of the Chernihiv district council Vladimir Polishchuk, supporters of the UOC-KP and radicals from “S14” held a meeting of the territorial community regarding the jurisdiction change of the parish, where only 72 out of 1,400 residents of Kovpyta village were present. Eventually, 65 people voted for the “voluntary transfer” of the UOC temple.

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